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The Advanced Materials Revolution Essay

2775 words - 11 pages

Steel: (for all intents and purposes) was invented in 1855 by Henry Bessemer(Mary Bellis). Science the amazing innovation that has changed the world incredible things have been made from the material from bridged cables and cross beams to arresting wires on aircraft carriers that stop monumental force and speed. It is truly an amazing martial, but eventually it snaps, breaks or tears due to the separation of the molecules. Also steel is not the most flexible material there is which may sound good for what it is used for, construction. You wouldn’t want the floor to shift from under but, what about in areas that have a consent threat of earthquakes having a material that is rigid when needed and flexible when needed would be an invaluable asset to construction companies in many countries. Also at $600-$900 per ton(Platts Mcgraw hill financial) it isn’t the most inexpensive material that could be chosen. Chemically is there a better material that could be used in the place of steel that is stronger more flexible and can be produced for a cheaper price than the normal steel that we use today? First, the choice of spider silk seems like a great choice. Mother nature seems to be the greatest designer of all made of different sections of proteins of extremely ridged and at the same time extremely elastic strings of proteins, that when braided together are 5 times stronger than steel and relatively free to produce as long as the spiders are kept healthy. What makes the proteins so strong? They are linked together almost like thousands of Lego’s linked together which by its self does not sound very strong, but just take 3 and pull length wise and try to pull them apart, it's almost impossible. The same concept is used in the spider's silk design linked to these are almost a zipper form of proteins with parts that stick out into holes to hold fast but are still more or less flexible, and then those are linked to a very elastic form of these proteins. These parts all combined together form the spider silk that is both extremely flexible and strong to the point if it was braided just 21.5 cm of the silk it could stop a 747 in its tracks(Ed Nieuwenhuys, Leo de Cooman ). So why don't we use the silk for, well, every thing? The answer is simple they spin 65 yards in a day which may sound like no problem 65 yards is a lot but considering that the strand of silk is pi / 4 * diameter^2 ( Ed Nieuwenhuys, Leo de Cooman), in other words incredibly small. To put it in perspective a man named Simon Peers created a 11 foot by 4 foot tapestry entirely of spider silk, yes it is seriously strong but it took four years to make it, which consists of 96 twisted lines and 960 spider silk lines and thousands of spiders were used to make it, so yes as a material it is amazing and crazy strong but to produce it would be a nightmare. Thankfully there are advances in science that are helping the research to come ever closer to being able to actually harvest spider silk by splicing...

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